The Grape Tap's first-floor dining room blends the comforts of a 1930s pioneer-style home with the aesthetic touches of contemporary decor. But beneath the floorboards lies a secret. Under the tables, slabs of stone carve out an airy cellar where dozens of wines, from pinot noir to riesling, wait through time. Stuccoed ceilings arch above the stock, and lounge-style seating with benches and throw pillows adds comfort to dining and gives lonely patrons something to hug.
Nestled amid such comforts, The Grape Tap's guests can sample flights or bottles from the underground stash, as well as pints of more than two dozen beers. They can also pair their sips with flavors from chef Pat Mathias's menu of seasonal produce, gourmet cheeses, and meats seasoned with exotic spices. The filet mignon sliders, for example, pair ground-tenderloin mini burgers with cambozola cheese, caramelized onion, and a creamy pecan spread to create something deep and hearty. The Grape Tap also hosts events throughout the year, such as live music performances in the backyard during the summer.
The Whaler Bar & Grill serves up a menu of crispy fried appetizers and juicy burgers alongside a spectrum of nightly events and brews from a well-stocked bar. Neon signs throw colorful light on the cool condensation of beer bottles and the rising steam of sliced-sirloin-steak sandwiches as wait staff deliver dishes by bouncing them off the button-tufted upholstery that lines the bar. Walls vibrate to the pulse of live music and DJs on the weekend or patrons dropping lyric bombs at weekly karaoke nights. The Whaler also hosts regular hold’em tournaments to catch a full house on the flop without the roof damage of diving out of a passing helicopter.
Within the historic 4th Avenue Market Place is the Alaska Experience Theater, a time capsule of state history and a portal for cultural exploration through film. The curators perennially screen four short documentaries on Alaskan history, projecting one about the devastating Good Friday Earthquake of March 27, 1964, in an earthquake simulator that rocks on hydraulic lifts designed to soothe Zeus in his infancy. A 40-foot screen commands attention in the 96-seat main theater, where the documentaries are relayed in vivid detail by a 3-D Christie Digital Projection System along with cult classics, independent films, and wide-release blockbusters. Out in the marketplace, dancers perform native Alaskan dances to the beat of drums, and two permanent exhibits reveal more information about the earthquake and display the full collection of prints by Alaskan artist Fred Machetanz.
The Woodshed Lounge welcomes diners into an eating establishment where nightly karaoke, pool tables, and a menu featuring pizza, burgers, and more wait to appease patrons. Wash away the idea of a dry gullet with a beer, and fortify bellies with a large, 14-inch pizza ($15), selecting from six toppings ($1 ea.) such as red onion, Italian sausage, and jalapeños. Pub patrons can order the JJ Burger plain ($7), with cheese ($8), or with bacon and cheese ($9) while pondering good times and repressing the urge to yell "Ceci n'est pas un burger!" The Woodshed also cures smaller appetites with a choice of seven appetizers, including nachos made with house-cut corn tortillas ($7) and JJ's wings, available in teriyaki, mildly spicy, and flightless ($7–$13).
The menu at Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse entices seafaring stomachs and carnivorous canines alike. Nosh on appetizing appetizers such as popcorn shrimp ($10.99) or hummus sidekicked by a justice league of cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, feta, and pita bread ($11.99). Hunger-havers of greater magnitude can dive fork-first into a smoked salmon caesar salad ($7.99 side, $13.99 dinner) or incisor-attack a prime-rib sandwich ($14.99).
While Center Bowl’s neon marquee has retained its vintage look for over 50 years, the bowling alley's modern innards include 30 updated Brunswick synthetic lanes with touchscreen scoring and automated gutter guards. The lights go dim on weekend nights for neon-bowling sessions, during which bowling balls and toothpaste stains glow in the dark. Between frames, bowlers can refuel at the concessions stand, which doles out pizza, wings, soft drinks, and beer.